Volume 37, Issue 8, August 2002

Love to Go to Work

That’s how many people who work for the best companies in the glass industry feel. Find out who moved up, who dropped off and notice a few newcomers to the Third Annual Best Companies to Work for in the Glass and Metal Industry. 

Many moved up a few spots. Others fell off the list entirely to make room for a few newcomers. We’re talking about those companies who were lucky enough to rank among USGlass magazine’s Third Annual Best Companies to Work For list. 

So why the change from last year’s rankings (see August 2001 USGlass, page 33)? Well, for one thing, some companies added a few benefits. Many companies, such as MTH and Parrett Mfrg., added a flexible spending plan, and this addition was just enough to bump these companies up a few spots. Other organizations, such as Viracon, added stock options to the benefits mix, making working for that company even more attractive. 

Though it didn’t affect the rankings, it was interesting to note that some companies increased its employee ranks while a few downsized slightly. 

You will notice that most of the companies on the list are large organizations with several hundred or even several thousand employees. So, kudos to the two small glass companies—Lafayette and Flower City Glass—that broke in among this powerful group. 

Before looking at the winners, let’s recap how we determine who makes the list (for a more detailed explanation, see USGlass, August 2001, page 33). The March 2002 issue of USGlass contained a survey for companies to fill out and send back to us. Of those who returned the forms, we tabulated the results, using a weighted average for each benefit the company offers. These averages were based on a massive survey we conducted two years ago in which we asked USGlass readers which benefits were most important to them. (All 2001 winners were also considered and were asked to fill out a new form in case benefits had changed).
So, these rankings give you a starting point. But once you look at the other information provided by the company you may have other opinions as to who is the best. For example, only companies that offer paid maternity leave were given points for that benefit. But what about those companies, such as MTH, that offer up to six months unpaid maternity leave? Most companies don’t leave jobs open for employees that long. And, more than benefits are important. Some people may think that the values adhered to by Coastal Glass Distributors should move them from number eight to number one. 

As usual, we would love to hear from you, regarding what you think of our list, how it can be improved, etc. The next list will appear in 2004 and will continue on a bi-annual basis thereafter.

Editor’s Note: The following are a few abbreviations to keep in mind while looking through the entries: STD = Short-term disability; LTD = Long-term disability; FMLA = Family Medical Leave Act; FSP = Flexible Spending Plan. 

First Place
Harmon Inc., Golden Valley, Minn.
Owned by Apogee Enterprises Inc.

Harmon team-members travel by bus to their version of “spring training” which includes workshops and other activities.

Employees: 838.

Medical: Single coverage. $53.73 employee contribution; $165.46 employer contribution.
Dental: Single coverage. $5.89 employee contribution; $18.14 employer contribution.

Retirement/Pension: 401k.

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: One times salary and supplemental.

Stock: Yes. 

Vacation: 15 days for 1 to 5 years of employment. Included as part of flexible time-off plan. 

Sick: Included as part of flexible time-off plan. 

Personal: Included as part of flexible time-off plan. 

Education: 75 percent employer-paid up to a maximum of $2,000 per year.

FSP: Yes.

Maternity: Paid as part of flexible time-off plan and STD. 12 weeks unpaid, according to FMLA.

Training: Six Sigma, project management, safety and computer administration.
Other Benefits: Company events, annual bonus, stock purchase plan, EAP and long-term care.

Why the Best: Focus on importance of our employees to our company’s success and the quality of our work and products. 

First Place
Kawneer Company Inc., Norcross, Ga.
An Alcoa Company

Some of Kawneers 3,000 dedicated employees.


Employees: More than 3,000.

Medical: Depending on program selected, employees contribute anywhere from zero to a nominal amount depending on their elections, with a $10 to $15 co-payment per office visit. After employee contribution, employer pays balance of costs for most medical expenses.

Dental: Depending on program selected, employees contribute anywhere from zero to a nominal amount depending on their selections. After employee contribution, employer pays for most routine dental services at 100 percent and non-routine at 85 percent, after a $25 deductible.

Retirement/Pension: Yes. Company-funded.

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: One times the total compensation is company-paid. Employees may purchase up to 8 times at competitive rates. 

Stock: Amount set by the Alcoa board of directors for specific Alcoa job grades.

Vacation: Up to 20 days.

Sick: No set number of days.

Personal: No set policy. Determined on an individual basis between employee and manager.

Education: 100 percent employer-paid. 

FSP: Yes.

Maternity: Paid: generally, between 6 to 8 weeks is paid under STD policy. Unpaid: Up to 12 weeks under FMLA. This runs concurrent with the leave that is paid under STD. 

Training: Yearly plans developed jointly between employee and manager; based on employees’ needs and career development plan.

Other Benefits: Vision coverage, prescription drug coverage, 401k plan, including a company match, matching grants for educational institutions through the Alcoa Foundation, Alcoa Foundation’s Sons and Daughters Scholarship Program recognizes outstanding academic achievement by high school seniors, incentive/bonus plan, discounted long-term care plan extended to employees and immediate family members; credit union access, Neighbors Program that includes such events as a community environment, Health and Safety Festival, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life team event, Habitat for Humanity volunteers, company picnics, cookouts and other corporate recognition, discount purchase programs through major suppliers such as Dell computers, Ford automobiles, office supplies, cell phones, amusement parks, etc.

Why the Best: Dedicated and experienced employees, strong, highly capable customer base, a broad, highly engineered product line and a well-known, highly recognized brand in the market. And, we are part of the world’s largest aluminum company—Alcoa. 

Viracon, Owatonna, Minn
Owned by Apogee Enterprises Inc.

Viracon longtime employee’s earn up to 200 hours per year vacation time.


Employees: 1,450.

Medical: Employee contribution: $24.80 single, bi-weekly; $68.20 family;
Employer contribution: $74.39, single, bi-weekly; $204.53, family.

Dental: Employee contribution: $2.50 single; $7.61 family; Employer contribution: $6.95 and $20.86.

Retirement: Pension and 401k.

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes, company-paid.

Life Insurance: Up to five times salary.

Stock: Employee purchase program. Viracon matches 15 percent of stock purchase, up to $400 per month.
Vacation: Begins at 40 hours per year for new employee. Longtime employees earn up to 200 hours a year.

Sick: Well-pay program pays up to 48 hours a year.

Personal: 2 days.

Education: 100 percent employer-paid.

FSP: Yes.

Maternity: 6 weeks paid.

Training: Variety, including on-site undergraduate college courses.
Other Benefits: Attendance and safety incentives, banking programs, fitness club discounts, service awards, sports teams sponsorships, employees’ club, stock purchase plan, among others. Viracon’s profit-sharing plan is open to full-time employees who have completed a year of service. These employees are eligible to receive a quarterly payout, based on the company’s profitability. Over the year, it adds about a dollar an hour to an employee’s pay. 

Why the Best: We are the leader in glass fabrication. We are values-driven. Our values are employee development, teamwork, a customer focus, honesty, innovation and growth-orientation. 

Vistawall, Terrell, Texas 

Employees: 1,700.

Medical: Employee contribution: 25 percent of premium; Employer 
contribution: 75 percent of premium. 

Dental: Employee contribution: 25 percent of premium; Employer contribution: 75 percent of premium. 

Retirement: Base pension—defined benefit plan. 100 percent company-funded. Also contribute 30 percent to employee savings 401k plan, no vesting, loan feature in addition to base pension. 

LTD: Yes. Coverage from six months to retirement age. STD: Yes. Up to six months. 100 percent company-paid.

Life Insurance: Up to five times salary life insurance and personal accident insurance up to $500,000. 

Stock: Available to all employees; part of the match for the 401k plan.

Vacation: 2 to 5 weeks.

Sick: Medical necessity/up to six months. 

Personal: Yes. Depends on personal and business needs. 

Education: 100 percent employer-paid for A or B; 75 percent for C. 

FSP: Yes.

Maternity: Paid leave; Medical necessity, up to six months. Unpaid leave; in addition to paid medical leave, depends on personal and business needs.
Training: Management, leadership, work teams, safety, AutoCad, technical skills, English as a second language, total quality service, personal and professional development.

Other Benefits: Vision care, long-term care, prescription drug coverage, Butler College scholarships for dependents (2- and 4-year degrees), school-to-work program, provide safety equipment, service awards, employee recognition awards, employee-assistance plan, gain sharing—productivity and profit-sharing plan, matching grants for educational and cultural institutions, community service awards, employee hardship assistance, credit union, holiday pay, holiday luncheons and turkeys, bereavement pay, jury duty pay, referral bonuses, fitness club discounts and health enhancement program.

Why the Best: Since 1989, Vistawall has initiated a work-team concept, which consists of all levels of employees who are constantly seeking ways to work smarter—not harder. Vistawall’s philosophy is that the people who do the work are the ones to recommend and implement ways to improve production and quality service. 

Second Place
YKK, Atlanta

Employees: 531.

Medical: Both employees and employers contribute.

Dental: Included with medical benefits.

Retirement/Pension: Pension. 100 percent employer-paid. 401k available with partial company match.

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: Two times annual salary. 100 percent employer-paid. Supplemental for employees, family and dependents available (employee contribution).

Stock: No.

Vacation: Up to 22 days.

Sick: 8 days.

Personal: 2 days.

Education: 80 percent employer-paid (100 percent if requested by YKK).

FSP: Yes.

Maternity: Not a separate policy. Covered under other policies or benefits (i.e. STD, salary continuation, etc.).

Training: Any job-related courses approved by management.

Other Benefits: Travel, life and dismemberment insurance, dependent scholarships, vision care, dependent-care assistance and affiliated with credit union.

Why the Best: Our philosophy of dealing with our customers, employees and the local communities. The philosophy known as “cycle of goodness” simply stated is that, “no one prospers unless he renders benefits to others.”

Second Place
Enclos Corp. Bloomington, Minn.

Employees: Approximately 500.

Medical: 11 percent employee-paid; 89 percent employer-paid.

Dental: 16 percent employee-paid; 84 percent employer-paid.

Retirement/Pension: 401k with partial matching by the company, plus discretionary profit sharing deposit into account. 

LTD: 100 percent employer-paid. 

STD: 100 percent employer-paid.

Life Insurance: Annual base salary plus $10,000.

Stock: No.

Vacation: Flexible time-off plan. Dependent on length of service, 15 to 33 days. 

Sick: Included in flexible time-off plan.

Personal: Included in flexible time-off plan.

Education: 75 percent employer-paid; 25 percent employee-paid. Up to $2,000 maximum annually.

FSP: Yes, daycare and medical accounts.

Maternity: 6-8 weeks paid under STD.

Training: Computer skills, seminars and other job-specific training.

Other Benefits: Profit-sharing plan, business travel accident paid, paid bereavement leave, paid jury duty leave, nine paid holidays, employee-assistance program, referral bonus and co-worker recognition program. 

Why the Best: Open and clear communication of the company’s goals and the strategy to obtain them; No hidden agenda; A fostered atmosphere of high-level communication amongst employees of all disciplines, enabling participation, creation and delivery of the best business processes required to serve its customers.

Third Place
MTH Industries, Chicago

Employees: 165.

Medical: Approximately 90 percent employer-paid. 

Dental: 100 percent employer-paid.

Retirement/Pension: 401k.

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes—with restrictions.

Life Insurance: $25,000.

Stock: Yes. Company is employee-owned. 

Vacation: 2 to 4 weeks. 

Sick: 6 days.

Personal: 6 days.

Education: Usually 100 percent employer-paid.

FSP: Yes.

Maternity: Up to 6 months unpaid.

Training: Engineering, computer and safety.

Other Benefits: Very supportive team. Great on-the-job training program.

Why the Best: Our leadership team … creative, dynamic, progressive. A great bunch of people who have learned to have fun on the job.

Third Place
VVP America Inc., Memphis, Tenn.
Includes Binswanger Glass, Harding Glass, ACI Distribution, Binswanger Mirror, Super Sky and Glasscraft. 

VVP Binswanger branch 67 in Greenwood, Miss., helped sponsor the Annual Delta ABC Crawfish Boil at the Upchurch Cabin. From left to right: Todd Parrish, Lisa Gant and Wayne Branton.

Employees: 3,100 employees in 208 locations. 

Medical: 80 percent employer-paid. Choice of three PPO plans or an HMO plan.

Dental: 80 percent employer-paid. 

Retirement/Pension: 401k. Company matches 100 percent of employee’s contribution up to 3 percent of employee’s total compensation. 

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: Minimum of $20,000, up to two times annual compensation. Employees can choose additional insurance for themselves or their families at low group rates. 

Stock: No.

Vacation: 2 to 4 weeks. 

Sick: 13 to 26 days depending on length of service. 

Personal: Up to 6. 

Education: Yes. Employer pays 100 percent of tuition and books for courses related to work or courses taken in pursuit of a degree that can be of benefit to the company. 

FSP: No. 

Maternity: Paid as part of sick leave. 

Training: Employees have access to an extensive library of video tapes, most developed internally, and they also have access to training courses via the company’s website. Also send glaziers and installers to company training center in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Other Benefits: Employee-Assistance Program, Binswanger Memorial Scholarship, paid bereavement leave, paid jury-duty leave and credit union. Pay for Performance—salaried employees can earn annual incentive bonuses that range from 12 to 50 percent of their salaries. This bonus is based primarily on how well employees manage their own location and employees are advised monthly how they are performing. Hourly paid employees are eligible for monthly incentive checks that can be equivalent to more than a extra day of pay each month. 

Why the Best: We believe our company is one of the best because we believe in pushing responsibility for day-to-day operations of our many businesses down to the managers and employees who work out of our numerous locations. Even though we are a business that is very spread out, we make a special effort to communicate with employees to be sure they are informed about their benefits, company policies and how the company is doing. Quarterly, employees from all over the country contribute news from their locations that make up our employee publication. Annually, we have “Information Day,” in which employees at every location view a video tape that summarizes the year’s theme and features our president and chief executive officer, Mark Burke.

Fourth Place
C.R. Laurence Co. Inc., Los Angeles

760 in the United States and Canada.

Medical: 100 percent employer-paid.

Dental: 70 percent employer-paid.

Retirement/Pension: 401k.

LTD: Voluntary. Employee-paid. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: One time annual salary. 

Stock: No.

Vacation: 5 to 15 days.

Sick: 4 days (personal/sick).

Personal: 4 days (personal/sick).

Education: 50-100 percent employer-paid.

FSP: For insurance premiums. 

Maternity: 12 to 16 weeks unpaid. May use vacation and sick days. 

Training: Technical, customer service, ISO 9000 quality, safety, drug, CPR, first aid and fork lift. 

Why the Best: Management is dedicated to giving employees the opportunity to grow within the company. As Lee Wright, vice president of operations, says, “We’re always looking for career-minded people who are ready to step up to the plate. Our branch managers are always open to employees locally and are on the lookout for people who want to make CRL their career. People who want to make CRL their career let us know by their attitudes and actions.” 

Parrett Manufacturing Inc., Dorchestor, Wis.

Medical: 15 percent employee-paid; 85 percent employer-paid.

Dental: 15 percent employee-paid; 85 percent employer-paid.

Retirement/Pension: 401k.

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: $25,000 minimum. Increase based on compensation.

Stock: No.

Vacation: 1 to 4 weeks.
Sick: 3 days.

Personal: 3 days.

Education: Yes. Contributions vary depending on course content and applicability to actual work. 

FSP: Yes.

Maternity: Six weeks unpaid, according to FMLA.

Training: Safety benefits, machinery operation and data processing.

Other Benefits: Employee product discounts, paid holidays, vision coverage, prescription drug coverage, exercise facility.

Why the Best: Quality team of employees dedicated to providing the best products in our industry. 

Fifth Place
OFC Glass, Tulsa, Okla.

Children of OFC employees enjoy many Kids Klub activities.

Employees: 85-plus in glass division; 500-plus nationwide.

Medical: 100 percent employer-paid.

Dental: 100 percent employer-paid.

Retirement/Pension: 401k.

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: Annual salary.

Stock: No.

Vacation: 1 to 5 weeks. 

Sick: 1 hour of paid time off accrued for every 43 hours worked. Accrued hours can be used for either sick or personal time. 

Personal: 1 hour of paid time off accrued for every 43 hours worked. Accrued hours can be used for either sick or personal time. 

Education: 100 percent for A grade; 90 percent for B grade; 70 percent for C grade.
FSP: No.

Maternity: 12 weeks unpaid. 

Training: Yes. Varies depending on the job.

Other Benefits: Company picnics, Kids Klub, local corporate challenge events and golf league. 

Why the Best: The all-around interest in the worker and his family makes OFC a solid career choice.

Shaw Glass Co. Inc. DBA Solar Seal, South Easton, Mass. 
Solar Seal 

Solar Seal employees enjoy activities such as skiing trips.

Employees: 98

Medical: 100 percent employer-paid. 

Dental: 100 percent employer-paid. 

Retirement/Pension: 401k.

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes. 

Life Insurance: Yes. 

Stock: No. 

Vacation: Yes. 

Sick: 5 to 25 days. 

Personal: 1 day. 

Education: 100 percent employer-paid. 

FSP: No. 

Maternity: 18 weeks of unpaid leave. 

Training: Union-sponsored glass fabrication. 

Other Benefits: Golf tournaments, holiday parties and periodic luncheons. 

Why the Best: One of the leading glass fabricators in New England with the personal touch of the Shaw family. We offer a clean and safe environment, and long-standing employees who produce superior quality fabricated glass products. 

Fifth Place
Lee & Cates Glass Inc., Jacksonville, Fla.


Some of the 30 call center employees at the annual awards banquet.

Employees: 245.

Medical: 100 percent employer-paid.

Dental: 100 percent employee-paid.

Retirement/Pension: 401k with company match.

LTD: Available to officers only. 

STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: Up to one-and-a-half times annual salary with $50,000 cap.

Stock: No.

Vacation: Up to 15 days per year.

Sick: 2 days per year.

Personal: 2 days per year.

Education: Yes. There are no set limits, based on courses taken and grades.

FSP: No.

Maternity: Unpaid, in accordance with the FMLA.

Training: Continuing education based on employee needs, safety training, vendor training and certification. 

Other Benefits: Paid holidays, safety incentives, section 125 plan, workers compensation, employee-assistance program, discounts to family theme parks, Disney Club discounts, fishing trips, golf outings, paid trips to theme parks for the entire family, corporate discounts to clothing stores, employee referral program, Habitat for Humanity sponsor, employee-focus groups related to training needs, team building, employee recruiting and retention and cultural management. Company pays for NGA certification (exams and study materials) and gives $50 bonus for passing the exam. Also offers employee-paid accident, vision, alternative medicines, discount on vitamins and supplements, hearing, fitness and medical equipment, other pharmacy discounts, pet wellness, as well as discounts on vacations, airfare, hotels, rental cars, home services and care giving. 

Why the Best: I feel it is what we have to offer our employees. When we make them happy, they excel at making our customers happy. 

Fifth Place
Tubelite Inc., Reed City, Mich.

Tubelite Tubelite employees during a steak luncheon while CEO Ken Werbowy gives a “How’s Business” report.

Employees: 200.

Medical: 100 percent employer-paid. 

Dental: 100 percent employer-paid. 

Retirement/Pension: 401k with company match.

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: Two times annual salary for salaried employees. $30,000 for hourly employees.


Vacation: New employees begin with 40 hours per year. Long-term employees earn up to 200 hours per year. 

Sick: In accordance with FMLA.

Personal: 3 days.

Education: Employer pays $1,500 per year.

FSP: No.

Maternity: Unpaid time off, according to the FMLA.

Training: Training courses are administered through Ferris State University, thanks to a recently awarded state grant. This allows for the following courses to be offered to Tubelite employees: Microsoft Office Suite of programs, maintenance training, shop math, basic and advanced electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, C&C (computer milling), supervisory training (six modules) and LEAN (a manufacturing method of just-in-time order fulfillment).

Other Benefits: An incentive plan that is calculated and paid quarterly. The amount paid is based on the level of accomplishment for corporate financial goals and the level of accomplishment for individual goals. Tubelite also designates $50 per year for safety footwear and hosts a quarterly, corporate barbecue. 

Why the Best: Tubelite has established a reputation for dependable products and service, as well as excellent value for each dollar spent. We continually strive to meet on-time delivery goals and pride ourselves in the ability to communicate well and keep our clients informed.

Sixth Place
Pilkington North America, Toledo, Ohio


Pilkington employees were promised an ice cream social if goals were met.

Employees: 5,600.

Medical: Yes. Contributions vary depending on location and employee type. 

Dental: Yes. Contributions vary depending on location and employee type. 

Retirement/Pension: Yes. All employees have a defined contribution plan and some have a frozen defined benefit plan.
LTD: Availability depends on location and employee type. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: Yes. Depends on location and employee type. 

Stock: No.

Vacation: Yes. Amount of days vary depending on location and employee type. 

Sick: Paid sick time is covered under the STD plan. Employees are covered up to six months and the amount paid is dependent on their length of service.

Personal: No.

Education: 100 percent with C or better.

FSP: Availability of flexible spending accounts depends on location and employee type. 

Maternity: Paid through STD. Time and pay depends on location and employee type; 12 weeks of unpaid leave, according to the FMLA. 

Training: Foundations, leading effective teams, Six Sigma Green Belt, Black Belt and Master Black Belt in problem solving. Technical and software on-line training.

Other Benefits: Vision, supplemental term insurance for employee, spouse and children and long-term care insurance. Online investment advice through Financial Engines.
Why the Best: Pilkington is recognized as the world’s technological leader in glass. Following an intensive research and development program, Pilkington recently introduced Pilkington Activ™, the world’s first dual-action, self-cleaning glass. Pilkington also invented the universally used float glass process and is the world’s leading glass manufacturer.

AFG Industries Inc., Kingsport, Tenn.

AFG employees ride in the company’s float at the Fun Fest Parade.

Employees: 6,000.

Medical: Note: Medical and dental plan numbers are based on the plans in which most employees participate. Employee contributes $24 for single, $65 for a family. Employer contributes $216.78 for single, $585.11 for family.

Dental: Employee contributes $6.72 for single, $23.09 for 2, $43.92 for family. Employer contributes $6.72 for all groups. 

Retirement/Pension: Defined benefit plan. Direct contribution plan (401k).

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: One time base salary.

Stock: No.

Vacation: 10 to 25 days.

Sick: No.

Personal: 2 days.

Education: Employer pays 100 percent for books and tuition, up to $4,000 per year.

FSP: Yes.

Maternity: Up to 4 months off. Time is paid during disability period only, which is usually 6 to 8 weeks.

Training: Supervisory, technical and leadership. 

Other Benefits: Medical spending plan, employee assistance plan and dependent care reimbursement account.

Why the Best:
AFG keeps customers the number-one priority with a company-wide “can- do” approach.

Coastal Glass Distributors 
Charleston, S.C. 

Employees: 105.

Medical: The company pays 75 percent of medical and dental premiums for single employees and 65 percent of premiums for family coverage.

Dental: See above. 

Retirement/Pension: 401k. The company matches 20 cents for every dollar an employee contributes, up to 10 percent of pay. 

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes. 

Life Insurance: Yes, $10,000.

Stock: No

Vacation: 5 to 15 days.

Sick: 5 days. 

Personal: No. 

Education: Case-by-case basis. Generally, the company reimburses 100 percent of tuition for courses that relate to present or future job opportunities at Coastal. 

FSP: No. 

Maternity: Paid leave for full-time employees who plan to return to work. Up to six months unpaid. 

Training: We have used Dale Carnegie Training extensively over the past several years. We have paid to send several promising employees through sales management and general management training courses, and we have had Dale Carnegie develop training classes for employee groups within our company. 

Pay Increase: Annually. 

Other Benefits: In addition to the percentage of profit we allocate for 401k contributions, we allocate another 10 percent of profit toward cash bonuses for all employees. Theses bonuses are paid quarterly and each employee receives the same dollar amount. 

Why the Best: Everything we do is an expression of the values we adhere to as a company (the company has a values statement it gives to employees). Our financial success and the value we place on sharing our success has led to a good benefits program and good pay. Our integrity and commitment to our employees’ well-being has resulted in very high levels of trust within the organization. One measurable result of all this is low turnover. For employees with more than six months service, retention was more than 90 percent in 2001. 

Granite State Glass, Belmont, N.H.

More than 100.

Medical: 30 percent employee-paid; 70 percent employer-paid.

Dental: 30 percent employee-paid; 70 percent employer-paid.

Retirement/Pension: 401k.

LTD: No. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: $15,000.

Stock: No.

Vacation: 1 to 4 weeks.

Sick: 3 days.

Personal: 3 days.

Education: 100 percent, dependent on grade (B+ and above). 

FSP: Yes (field-service personnel). 

Maternity: Unpaid on a case-by-case basis (benefits are paid while on leave).
Training: Yes. 

Other Benefits: Flex time, company clothing, glass show trips, fishing trips, company party and company vehicles for field-sales personnel. 

Why the Best: Loyalty and integrity of our team is passed on to the customer in both the retail and commercial arenas. 

Lafayette Glass Co., Lafayette, Ind.

Medical: Yes. 60 percent employer-paid. 

Dental: Yes. 50 percent employer-paid. 

Retirement/Pension: Profit-sharing.

LTD: No. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: $15,000-plus, according to years of service.

Stock: No.

Vacation: 5 to 15 days depending on years of service.

Sick: 4 days.

Personal: 4 days. 

Education: Yes. 100 percent employer-paid. 

FSP: Yes.

Maternity: Unlimited days unpaid.

Training: Yes. Glass and glazing. 

Why the Best: See profile below.

At Lafayette Glass, Smaller is Better

Chris Clark, general manager.

Employees at smaller companies, such as Lafayette Glass in Lafayette, Ind., may not have all the benefits of the number-one companies on our list, but some benefits can’t be written on a form or checked off on a box. So, while employees at the 25-person Lafayette Glass may not have stock options or disability plans, employees like Chris Denny don’t want to work anywhere else.

One of the reasons Denny, Lafayette’s office manager who has been there for 15 years, is so happy at the company is due to the leadership of president Dennis Clark. 

Clark’s parents started Lafayette Glass in 1946, and Dennis has been in the business since he was 16. His brother Ed retired in 1998; Dennis’ son Chris is learning the business as the general manager.

Denny said this family owned- company treats all of its employees like family. For example, Denny has been busy recently taking care of her mother who is sick with cancer and many times has to leave to take her to the doctor. “If I get a call and have to rush out in five minutes, he understands,” said Denny. “I don’t worry that my job is in jeopardy.”

She adds that Clark is as understanding with all the employees, many of whom are women with children. “It’s nice to feel that you can be there for your family when you need to,” said Denny.

Employees at Lafayette Glass bond as a family in other ways as well. They often get together around the holidays and in the summer for picnics, parties or special events like Casino Night and bowling. “And, sometimes we get together just because.”

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” said Denny.

Tenth Place
Flower City Glass Co. , Rochester, N.Y. 


Medical: 100 percent employer-paid. 

Dental: 100 percent employer-paid. 

Retirement/Pension: 401k, profit-sharing.

LTD: Yes. STD: Yes.

Life Insurance: $50,000.

Stock: No

Vacation: Average of 10 days. 

Sick: 5 days (to all except glaziers). 

Personal: No.

Education: No.

FSP: Yes.

Maternity: Unpaid, according to FMLA. 

Training: Yes, apprenticeship. 

Why the Best: Our desire to have the best quality. 

Alumicor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (with divisions in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Montreal, Quebec; and Winnipeg, Manitoba). 
Employees: 300.

Medical: 100 percent employer-paid.

Dental: 20 percent employee-paid; 80 percent employer-paid.

Retirement/Pension: Yes. Profit sharing.
LTD: Yes. STD: Yes. Up to 26 weeks.
Life Insurance: Up to two times annual salary. 

Stock: No.

Vacation: Yes. Varies, depending on years of service.

Sick: Covered under STD.

Personal: No.

Education: 100 percent employer-paid.

FSP: No.

Maternity: 17 weeks unpaid.

Training: A number of areas ranging from safety to operations, marketing and administration.
Other Benefits: Opportunity to buy and sell shares in the company without paying commissions, 12 paid statutory holidays and out-of-the-country medical travel insurance. 

Why the Best: We put the customer front and center of the decision-making process and in a creative way find solutions to customer needs.

The Fun Bunch
Focus on Employees (and Fun) Make Vistawall a Great Place to Work  

What makes Vistawall such a great place to work, and one of the top companies on our list? With so many great benefits at the Terrell, Texas-based company, both tangible and intangible, Carol Muller-Ohmann, division human resource manager, had a difficult time answering this question. “There are so many great things about working here,” she said.

But pushed to offer an answer, as far as the benefits package goes, Ohmann mentioned the company’s pension plan. She said most businesses don’t offer this anymore and she also pointed out the difference between a pension plan and a 401k plan.

“With 401k plans, 90 percent of the money is the employee’s,” she said. “With our defined benefit plan, the employee receives a certain amount of money from the company based on his years of service—it doesn’t matter if the company was profitable that year or not.”
But a great company is not built on just benefits alone.

“At Vistawall, the overall philosophy and focus is on the employees,” she said. “The company recognizes service [evidenced by its pension plan] and wants its employees to have a career at Vistawall.”

VISTAWALL From left to right: Mitzi Daniel, Gloria Paul and Peter Haigney at the March of Dimes Walk-a-thon.

Ohmann herself has been there for 16 years and added that the company is full of long-service people at all of its 21 locations. 

One of the reasons people stay so long could be attributed to the fact that they take an active role in the company’s success. For example, Vistawall has a gain-sharing program in which a series of work teams (composed of volunteers from various departments) work on issues such as lean manufacturing, work flow, department set-ups, process streamlining, etc. According to Ohmann, when each goal is met, it is turned into a dollar amount and that is put into a big pot. At the end of the year, the money in the pot is distributed evenly to Vistawall employees. 


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